UK Finance Watchdog's Crypto Investigations Up By 74% in 2019

The number of investigations into cryptocurrency firms by the U.K.'s Financial Conduct Authority have reportedly seen a sharp rise in the last year.

AccessTimeIconOct 7, 2019 at 10:30 a.m. UTC
Updated Sep 13, 2021 at 11:32 a.m. UTC

The number of investigations into cryptocurrency firms by the U.K.'s financial regulator, the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA), have seen a sharp rise in the last year.

The Financial Times said on Monday that it had obtained information indicating that the FCA is now looking into 87 firms in the space, either as part of initial scrutiny or full enforcement investigations. That number is 74 percent up from the same time in 2018, when 50 crypto firms were being investigated by the authority.

The data was reportedly provided by David Heffron, partner at law firm Pinsent Masons, who told the FT that the spike in numbers “reflects the FCA’s increasingly hands-on and no-nonsense approach" to the cryptocurrency industry.

Back in May, the FCA warned that there had been a three-fold rise in reports of online platforms fleecing investors with cryptocurrency and forex scams. The 1,800 reported scams in 2018-2019 had given rise to £27 million ($33.2 million) in lost funds, it estimated.

The authority said fraudsters tend to use social media to promote their schemes, often using fake celebrity endorsements and images of luxury items to lure naive investors.

The FCA also recently issued guidance for the crypto industry that clarified which tokens fall under its jurisdiction, and which – like bitcoin and ethereum – don't.

London image via Shutterstock

Disclosure

Please note that our privacy policy, terms of use, cookies, and do not sell my personal information has been updated.

CoinDesk is an award-winning media outlet that covers the cryptocurrency industry. Its journalists abide by a strict set of editorial policies. In November 2023, CoinDesk was acquired by the Bullish group, owner of Bullish, a regulated, digital assets exchange. The Bullish group is majority-owned by Block.one; both companies have interests in a variety of blockchain and digital asset businesses and significant holdings of digital assets, including bitcoin. CoinDesk operates as an independent subsidiary with an editorial committee to protect journalistic independence. CoinDesk employees, including journalists, may receive options in the Bullish group as part of their compensation.